I called Mike Volpe this week to talk about sales and marketing alignment, but we talked first about competition.

Mike is chief marketing officer at Cybereason and speaking next week at the Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Summit.  Like many industries, cybersecurity is red-hot and highly competitive.  Incumbents, newcomers, wannabees – all trying to get a finite number of prospects to pay attention.

I asked Mike to talk about how they differentiate and stay above the competitive noise.  Here’s what they’re doing (with lessons and implications for all of us):

  • Differentiate on brand image:  Marketers who focus primarily (or exclusively) on measurable marketing ROI might miss this opportunity, by Cybereason leverages image, trade show booth presence and other channels/opportunities to bring their brand to life.  “Words are easy,” Mike said. “How we say them and what the visuals are, the embodiment of the brand, we focus on that.  It matters.”
  • Happy customers generate positive word-of-mouth:  Anytime a market is crowded and it’s hard for buyers to understand where to turn, they shut down and often tune everything out except for what they hear from their peers.  “We build up advocates and use them for introductions, reference calls, video case studies and more,” Mike said.
  • Focus on customer needs, not competitor claims: This can be easier said than done, and difficult particularly when competitors do something noisy, flashy or newsworthy.  “We have to remind people that we’re not here to focus on the competition,” Mike said. “If we obsess with them, we’re not going to make an impact. We want to be aware of what they’re doing but don’t let it dictate our day to day plans.”

We got around to sales and marketing alignment as well.  More on that part of the conversation next week.